What is meant by receivers of a message "identifying" with or being "alienated" by its content in advertising?
In messages that consumers receive from advertisements, whenever a consumer sees an advertisement, they receive a message. The consumer can respond to the message in a number of ways. Identifying with it and being alienated by it are two of these possible responses.
If a person identifies with a message, they like it and feel that it applies to their lives. For example, a parent who sees an ad for a car that emphasizes its safety features and shows a child being kept safe by those features may identify with the message. They may feel that the message speaks to things that are important in their lives. This is, of course, what advertisers want.
If a person is alienated by a message, it means they are repelled or pushed away by it. For example, an environmentalist might be alienated by an ad for an SUV that shows it splashing through streams and driving over untouched landscapes. This message would go against their core values and they would feel very unhappy when they viewed it.
If a viewer identifies with an advertising message, it will make sense and the content will be well-received and understood. If a viewer is alienated, he or she may not understand the message or may be offended by it.
In any kind of advertising, there is the danger of alienating customers rather than having them identify with the advertisement. There might be many reasons for this. Viewers might be offended by the campaign if it is not directed at them. For instance, a campaign intended to make teenagers laugh may appall elderly people.
With viewers being bombarded by advertising messages constantly through various media, advertisers are trying more and more to be innovative and creative in their campaigns. More creative marketing can pay off, but there is a risk that the joke will fall flat or the message will fall on deaf ears.